1. Japan National Stadium
    Photo: Tomacrosse/ShutterstockJapan National Stadium
  2. Miyashita Park in Shibuya
    Photo: Osugi/ShutterstockMiyashita Park in Shibuya
  3. The Tokyo Toilet
    Photo: Satoshi Nagare; provided by Nippon FoundationThe Tokyo Toilet
  4. Doraemon Miyashita Park
    Photo: Keisuke TanigawaMiyashita Park

Since you've been gone: 15 new Tokyo attractions that opened during the pandemic

Visiting Tokyo when the borders reopen? Don’t miss out on these new restaurants, hotels and attractions

Youka Nagase
Written by
Youka Nagase
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Tokyo has undergone some big changes during the pandemic. Some beloved restaurants, shops and attractions are no longer around, but the city hasn’t stopped evolving. Japan’s vibrant capital has continued to bustle and surprise us with new destinations, despite the lack of tourists. And with Japan finally opening up to independent travellers from October 11, it’s time to find out what’s been happening.

If this is your first time visiting Tokyo since the borders closed, then you’re in for a treat, because there are a host of new places to enjoy. From giant robots to restaurants by Michelin-starred chefs, these are the new attractions you don’t want to miss out on.

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  • Things to do
  • Yokohama

Odaiba’s life-size Gundam statue may have stolen all the headlines over the years, but now there’s a new contender. In Yokohama you’ll find a further enhanced version of Gundam with moving limbs and hands that throw peace signs. You can even learn how the robots are designed and get a view from inside the robot’s cockpit as it moves. Gundam will only be gracing us with its presence in Yokohama until March 31 2022, so don’t miss out on this impressive display.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

If you’re looking to satisfy your sushi craving, you can’t go far wrong with Kura Sushi, which offers nigiri and maki rolls for as little as ¥110 per plate. And now the popular chain has opened up the world’s biggest conveyor belt sushi restaurant in front of Oshiage Station. The new venue holds 277 people and allows guests to win prizes depending on how many plates of sushi they’ve eaten.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

One of the most high profile events in Japan to be affected by Covid-19 was the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. But it’s not too late to soak up some of the atmosphere of the Tokyo Games. The Japan National Stadium is now open to the public for tours until March 2024, giving you the chance to roam freely around the striking venue designed by Japanese architect Kengo Kuma. And you can even channel your inner athlete by participating in events and seeing the Olympic torch up close.

Discover what’s new in Shimokitazawa
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Discover what’s new in Shimokitazawa

Shimokitazawa has a well-earned reputation as Tokyo’s cool and hip neighbourhood, with its independent coffee shops and one-of-a-kind vintage clothing stores. And despite the impact of Covid-19, the area has welcomed three new complexes over the past two years: Bonus Track, Reload and Mikan Shimokita. All three boast multiple restaurants, cafés, bars and shops.

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Eat your fill at these food halls
Photo: Kisa Toyoshima

Eat your fill at these food halls

If you can’t decide what to eat, yokocho food halls are a great option, offering a plethora of choices within one complex. Some new ones to check out include the retro Kotaro Komichi in Toranomon, Kankoku Yokocho in Shin-Okubo’s Koreatown, and the trendy Toranomon Yokocho with craft beer bars and off-shoots of Michelin-starred restaurants.

  • Things to do
  • Shiba-Koen

Tokyo Tower has a big surprise for new visitors. It’s now the home of Japan’s largest eSports park, where you can try out a host of VR and high-tech attractions spread out across the beloved landmark’s third to fifth floors. There are over 30 activities to try at Red Tokyo Tower, including sports games and motion sensor attractions, plus rooms dedicated to poker and board games.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

One of the most eye-catching new additions to Tokyo Disney Resort is the Toy Story Hotel. It’s covered with colourful blocks and toys, plus there are larger than life statues of Buzz Lightyear, Little Bo Peep and the rest of the gang. It’s a dream for fans of the movie series. And if you stay the night, you can sleep in Andy’s bedroom from the first movie, complete with the same cloud wallpaper. There’s also the chance to pick up ‘Toy Story’ souvenirs at the gift shop based on Pizza Planet, the restaurant that Andy frequents with his toys.

  • Things to do
  • City Life

Despite the pandemic, Tokyo Disney Resort has continued to expand, as you’ll see with the new ‘Beauty and the Beast’ section. This addition features a recreation of the fairy tale castle and village as well as a new ride called Enchanted Tale of Beauty and the Beast. A Baymax-themed attraction and popcorn speciality shop have also been installed inside the theme park’s Tomorrowland area.

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  • Things to do

We can all agree that public toilets aren’t usually the most pleasant places to visit. Well, Shibuya has something to say about that with the installation of some extravagant loos with state-of-the-art design. In cooperation with Shibuya’s local government, the Nippon Foundation launched a project called The Tokyo Toilet. This initiative replaced 17 public toilets in Shibuya with modern, accessible structures designed by 16 of Japan’s foremost creatives and architects, including Shigeru Ban, Tadao Ando and Kengo Kuma.

  • Things to do
  • Weird & Wonderful

To celebrate the opening of the ‘Harry Potter and the Cursed Child’ stage production, a small section of Akasaka near the theatre has been transformed into a Harry Potter-themed plaza. Along with a sculpture of the Time-Turner from ‘Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban’, the staircase connecting Akasaka Biz Tower to Akasaka ACT Theater has been decorated with 42 portraits of witches and wizards. There are also immersive pop-ups and a Harry Potter-themed café in the area.

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  • Things to do
  • City Life

Tokyo’s latest robot café stands out from the rest. Unlike the Shinjuku Robot Restaurant, where humans dressed as robots put on a dinner show, Dawn Avatar Robot Café in Nihonbashi features real humanoid robots waiting on customers and serving food and drink. These robots are operated remotely as avatars for people who can’t leave the house due to physical disabilities, childcare or other reasons.

  • Restaurants
  • Eating

If you want to visit Massimo Bottura’s three Michelin-starred restaurant Osteria Francescana but can’t make it to Italy, then never fear as there’s a much more accessible option right here in Tokyo. Occupying the fourth floor of Gucci’s second flagship store on Namiki-dori in Ginza, the restaurant combines modern Italian cuisine with the fashion brand’s eclectic design style. There’s also a Japanese twist to the Italian dishes, such as panna cotta yuzu with shrimp, Milanese wagyu and parmigiana ramen.

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  • Shopping
  • Shopping & Style

What better way to use up all of your loose coins than depositing them in capsule machines? Head to the Gashapon Department in Ikebukuro’s Sunshine City shopping centre and you’ll find a staggering 3,000 capsule toy machines – the largest number at any single location in Japan. All the usual anime figurines like Pokémon and Gundam are here, as well as realistic food replicas and even reusable tote bags. Prices start from ¥200, with the most expensive only setting you back ¥800.

  • Shopping
  • Shopping centres
  • Shibuya

Once a public park along the Yamanote Line, Miyashita Park has transformed into a stylish complex featuring shops, restaurants, ​​cafés and a hotel. The rooftop park in particular has become a popular hangout spot for locals, a place where you can relax and get away from the hustle and bustle of Tokyo life. And if you’re looking to do something a bit more active, there’s also a climbing wall and sand volleyball court. Fans of Doraemon will also enjoy their time here, with a bronze statue of the character, plus some of Fujiko F. Fujio’s other manga creations such as Perman, Obake no Q-Taro and Chimpui.

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  • Health and beauty
  • Kinshicho

This humble and traditional neighbourhood sento has undergone a modern reimagining to become a public bathhouse complete with a craft beer taproom that doubles as a DJ booth. The baths are separated by gender, but both areas share a mural of Mt Fuji by artist Yoriko Hoshi. And the facility is opened to inked bathers. A 90-minute session costs ¥470 for adults, ¥370 for middle-school students, and ¥180 for elementary school children.

Plan your next Tokyo trip

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